As the exploration for oil and gas continues to widen, accidents, injuries, and deaths related to this industry are likely to rise. Serious injuries at offshore sites can be attributed to transportation, falling objects, equipment malfunction, explosions, electrical fires, among other things.
There are currently more than 4,000 oil rigs operating in the Gulf of Mexico that are actively mined and producing resources. As this number continues to rise, so does the number of workers needed to operate these rigs. Employers are working hard to ensure that their workers are trained on how to operate heavy machinery and in understanding proper safety procedures. But, even with such a high emphasis on worker safety, it is inevitable that hiring workers at higher than normal rates, will lead to worksite injuries.
A common cause of injuries and death relating to oil rigs involves helicopter transportation. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that between 2003 and 2010, the U.S. oil and gas extraction industry has a collective fatality rate seven times higher than for all U.S. workers. 128 fatalities in activities related to offshore oil and gas operations occurred during that 2003-2010 time period. Transportation accidents accounted for 51% of those fatalities, with 75% of those occurring on helicopters.
Because the majority of offshore oil and gas industry fatalities are related to transportation, employers should ensure that all transportation safety guidelines are followed. The International Association of Oil and Gas Producers have imposed guidelines that are stricter than the FAA safety regulations. These guidelines include underwater escape training classes for pilots and passengers, flotation gear for helicopters that automatically inflate upon impact with water, and life rafts that are externally mounted to helicopters, to name a few.
If you or someone you know has been injured in an offshore accident, contact the attorneys at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling 713-396-3964 or toll free at 1-800-870-95